We’ve heard it over and over again about how exercise produces endorphins, those “feel-good” chemicals our body unleashes when we’re working out and releasing stored toxins in our muscles. We know that exercise improves our mood and in some cases even counteracts clinical depression, as well as improving a number of related health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
But how exactly does exercise help us to feel happier and more alive?
Aside from producing endorphins, neurotransmitters, and endocannabinoids – chemicals known to decrease anxiety, depression, sadness and negative thought patterns – exercise also boosts the immune system, producing a general physical well-being, and raises body temperature which has been known to calm stress.
Other benefits of regular exercise include:
- Increased confidence in one’s physical appearance and physical abilities.
- Increased range of motion and flexibility, allowing for pain-free enjoyment of a wide range of physical activities.
- Increased control over weight-gain and muscle tone, improved appearance and relief from minor aches and pains in the joints.
- Increased interest in healthy eating as a natural result of getting more in touch with our bodies, which in turn will decrease the amount of toxins in the system that feed negative emotions
- Increased social interaction can have positive effects on one’s mood and disposition if one chooses to work out with a group, take a class, or join a gym
Generally, the more you exercise the more these benefits are pronounced in your body and life, and the less you’ll find yourself combating depressive episodes and negative mood swings in life.
Overall, if you wake up with the Blues, consider going for a brisk walk, or maybe jumping some rope. You will instantly note that your body is helping you improve your mood by producing feel-good substances and reinforcing the spirit of energy over lethargy, health over illness, and cheerful agility over emotional and physical stagnation. That little emotional perk that you need may be as easy as mustering up the willingness to go out for a brief walk, do some stretching in your office chair, or hit the gym after work.